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East Lancashire apprentice named best in the North West
12:43pm Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
TALENTED apprentices from East Lancashire have been crowned top of the class in recognition of their hard work.
Abigail Fraser received the coveted title of North West Apprentice of the Year.
The 18-year-old from Woodnook, Accrington, is a level three apprentice French polisher with furniture manufacturer Urbana Contracts, based at Huncoat Indistrial Estate.
Abigail was chosen from around 1,500 entries and now goes through to the national finals which will be decided on November 14.
The former Mount Carmel pupil said: “I couldn’t believe it when I was chosen. My trainer said he wanted to put me through but I didn’t think I would win.
“I was shocked when I was named the overall winner.”
Construction trainee Thomas Regan, 20, from Blackburn, has been named the best young painter and decorator in the country.
He won the national final of the painting and decorating category in SkillBuild, the UK’s largest multi-trade competition.
More than 1,000 entrants took part in 14 regional heats and he beat 10 other finalists in the category, sponsored by Darwen firm Crown Paints.
Thomas, representing Accrington and Rossendale College, both as a student and an apprentice employee, was announced the winner at Preston Guild Hall.
He received a trophy from celebrity builder Tommy Walsh, and a £1,000 cheque from Crown Paints.
Thomas said: “I’m absolutely delighted. It’s great to have won.
“The competition was tough, but it’s been worth all the hard work and preparation.”
Thomas Burrows, 17, from Feniscowles, has been named ‘first year apprentice of the year’ by his employer Fort Vale engineering for his outstanding skills in engineering.
Thomas, a former St Wilfrid’s C of E high school pupil, will continue to build upon his first year success training on the factory floor alongside qualified engineers at Fort Vale’s Simonstone Lane site.
He said: “I am really pleased with the award and know my hard work has paid off.
“My first year has been great. I hope to build upon this success and keep improving. I’m looking forward to what the future with Fort Vale holds.”
Stirk House Hotel in Gisburn has been named one of the North West’s best employers in the regional final of the National Apprenticeship Awards and National Training Awards 2012 through the North Lancashire Training Group.